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If only seeing world-renown composers perform was as easy as strolling to the neighborhood art museum. Last Saturday was one of those rare days.

Cliburn at the Modern is a fairly low-key event as far as Van Cliburn Foundation activities go. Held twice a year at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and moderated by an always droll and witty Shields-Collins “Buddy” Bray, Cliburn artistic consultant, the program has brought in notable heavyweights John Corigliano, Kevin Puts, and John Bucchino, among others, over the years. This year’s guest composer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jennifer Higdon, was making her second appearance after a five-year hiatus. (In the classical music world, the superstar names tend to be instrumental soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming, making this composer-centric program a refreshing change.)

Higdon is prolific. She writes 10 to 12 compositions a year, and several of her works are now standard repertoire for major symphony orchestras.

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